8 weeks later

Five and a half weeks. 37 days. A milestone — finally. My first real milestone after my knee replacement came on day 37 post-op. On that day, I woke up on my own instead of from pain.

In my last post about my knee replacement surgery, it was easy to imagine constant pain for 6 weeks post-surgery. While I’m happy to have noticed relief a few days shy of that, 37 days is a loooooooooong time to be in pain. And the pain isn’t totally gone, either. As I begin my eighth week with my new knee, I still have pain–especially during and after physical therapy–but it’s no longer my constant companion. IMG_5304

I no longer walk with a limp, thankfully. I can go up stairs with relative ease, but coming down stairs is a different story. My new knee still doesn’t want to bend the way it needs to. It still barks at me and my unrealistic expectations. Even though I had read extensively about recovery and thought I knew what to expect, I had no idea how hard this would be.

If you happen to have a story about a neighbor/parent/spouse/boss who had a knee replacement and “was up and about like normal within a few weeks,” do not tell me about it. Just don’t. I don’t want to know. Yeah, yeah: everyone heals differently, it’s major surgery, anytime they cut your bones it’s a hard recovery blah blah blah. I know that. In my intellectual brain I know that. But in my crazy brain, I have this stupid idea that eight weeks is more than enough time to heal. Crazy Brain and I would like to get back to normal, please.

These days, my life revolves around physical therapy, my ice cast, the Kneehab XP, and a compounded antiinflammatory cream. Three days a week I spend an hour and a half at PT; on the days that I don’t attend PT, I do a series of exercises at home twice a day. Pedaling a stationary bike and doing squats are the least heinous parts of my PT. The Graston treatment falls into the heinous category. Graston involves the therapist using one of these tools to press, scrape, and apply pressure to the injured area. While it can hurt enough to induce a cold sweat and a string of curse words, it breaks up scar tissue adhesions, softens the fascia, and promotes healing. foamtray3-shadows.jpg

After the Graston treatment comes acupuncture. Graston breaks up the bad stuff and then acupuncture helps escort that bad stuff away from my knee and out of my system. Here’s hoping that Graston and acupuncture continue to combine WonderTwin powers to heal this mess.  IMG_5670.jpg

Once I get home from PT, I strap on my ice cast and wait for the cold to overpower the pain. Sweet, sweet relief. This thing is pretty great: the cooler holds ice and water, which flow into the leg cuff, along with air for compression. It gets cold quick and stays cold long enough to wipe out the damage done progress made at PT. If only I could figure out how to store a glass of champagne in the cooler when it’s not strapped to me.IMG_5672.jpg

When I’m not icing, I’m firing up the Kneehab XP. IMG_5669.jpgOn the inside of this sleeve are electrodes that sit right on top of the affected area and deliver electrical stimulation to the quadriceps to force the muscles to contract. Those quad muscles have been underutilized because of the damage to my knee; by forcing them to engage, the Kneehab XP promotes strengthening and reminds those muscles to get back to work.

Here’s how the incision looks today. It too is healing, slowly slowly slowly. Much too slowly for me and Crazy Brain. IMG_5671.jpg



21 Comments on “8 weeks later”

  1. Eddie says:

    Crazy Brain needs to take a nap!

  2. carla says:

    Yikes ! Glad you are feeling better!

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. David Benbow says:

    Wow. That’s a lot of equipment. I’m glad your pain is receding. I don’t remember seeing this much PT on the Bionic Woman.

  4. Caroline says:

    Good luck in your healing! All the work/pain now will lead to a better knee in the future (or so they tell us). I am looking at a couple knee replacements in a few years myself and all this detail helps me better understand what is in the future for me.

    • Caroline, I hope my wailing & moaning doesn’t scare you away from having the surgery. It’s awful, but so is living with chronic pain and having a failing join determine how much activity one can accomplish.

  5. Yikes… I’ll stop moaning about my sore finger…

  6. […] winced reading Nancy Hicks‘ account of her recovery from knee replacement surgery. Sending healing thoughts your way […]

  7. So sorry you’re going through all this. I’m sure the “finished product” will be relief and mobility. Here’s hoping!

  8. The Accidental Amazon says:

    My word, Nancy! I’m so sorry you’ve had to endure all this. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this Graston treatment. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a PT patient who’s had this much agony after a knee replacement. Continuing to send you good PT juju & hope you will be fully functional and pain-free soon. xoxo, Kathi

    • As weird as Graston sounds, it really works! And as for the healing process, as you well know, it is indeed a process. Yesterday was a really good day with a productive PT session, but today is not so good. Two steps forward….

  9. The Accidental Amazon says:

    Right after I posted that comment, a friend on Facebook posted this! Humorously apt. Thank goodness you only needed one knee replacement! xoxo http://accidentalamazon.com/images/kneereplacement.jpg

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